A swing seat adds a bit more interest to the garden than just a standard bench.
They’re often a bit more fun and welcoming, and it’s not uncommon to find models that have canopies built in as well.
There are options which are more upright, as well as those that offer the possibility to recline. But all of them provide that enjoyable, relaxing ‘weightless’ feeling.
If you’re on the look out for a garden swing seat, the following information should give you a good idea of what to look out for (as well as what to avoid).
Finding a Design to Suit Your Garden
There are a lot of different designs available when it comes to swing seats, and it’s impossible to say which is the best; many things will come down to personal taste.
However, here’s a run down of some of the different designs and features available, so you can decide what to look for:
Number of Seats
Swing seats are not always limited to just two people.
The classic designs are generally suited to two adults, but there are models which can seat up to four people or more.
There are also smaller swing seats, like hanging egg chairs, that seat just one person.
Of course, a unit with more seats will be larger and more difficult to 1) find space for in the garden, and 2) store away for winter. They can also be more expensive too. But if you have a larger family, or like to entertain, they could be a great option.
The mains thing to watch out for is the weight capacity limit on the swing seat. Some units have much higher maximum capacities than others, and it’s best not to presume that just because a there are four seats, any four people can sit down.
More information on weight capacity can be found in the section below titled ‘Swing Seat Weight Capacity’.
Most swing seats have some form of canopy; however, not all canopies are created equal.
Adjustable canopies can be positioned to offer maximum shade from the sun throughout the day. This isn’t a feature that is available on all swing seats, but might be useful if get a lot of sun in your garden.
Most of the time, canopies are made from showerproof polyester. They may also be made from wood, if the swing seat has a wooden frame.
A polyester canopy will offer more protection from sun and rain than a slatted wooden canopy, but may suffer damage in windy conditions.
Fortunately, they are usually held on by Velcro and easy to remove.
Some fabric canopies will have a level of SPF protection, which will actively block UV rays instead of just creating shade (which can still let UV rays through).
Upright or Reclining
Some swing seats are best described as swinging benches – upright, structured and straight forward. If correct posture is important to you, and you like having a straight backrest, these classic designs will likely appeal to you the most.
Other designs give you the possibility to recline and rest your legs up. With these options you can either sit with your legs out straight, or crossed-legged. Some people prefer this more relaxed seating position, but it’s not comfortable for everyone.
These are a couple of the ‘extra’ features which can feature on swing seats, you might want to look out for them if they sound appealing to you:
- Arm rests
- Drinks trays
- Rubber feet (so that it won’t slip on a hard surface)
Swing Seat Weight Capacity
Some swing seats have surprising low weight allowances so it’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer before you make a purchase, just to be 100% sure.
It’s best to not presume that a swing seat can take more weight just because it seems to have been designed for more people.
Some three-seat swing seats may have as low a weight capacity as 200 kg. If this weight is divided evenly between three people sitting on the seat, it would mean that each individual’s weight should not exceed 66 kg.
It’s quite common for an adult to weigh over 66 kg, so this is something to bear in mind when shopping.
Other three-seat swing seats can have higher weight capacities of 300 kg +, which would create more freedom in terms of who can sit down.
Even if a swing seat seems to ‘withstand’ more than its recommended weight capacity, exceeding the limit can result in damage and wear and should be avoided.
Wooden or Metal Swing Seats
Most commonly, swing seats are made with either steel or wooden frames.
Both can be strong and fare well in bad weather.
For most people, it is often a matter of aesthetics as to whether they choose wood or steel. Steel frames generally require no maintenance, whereas wooden frames will likely require treating annually with a sealant to stop moisture getting in.
If the steel is powder coated, it should be durable and relatively rust resistant. However, it’s still important to keep metal swing seats dry and under a waterproof cover when not in use in order to prolong their life.
If you choose a wooden frame, go for wood that has been pressure treated and is FSC certified. Pressure treated wood is usually guaranteed against rot and insect infestations for several years. FSC certified wood has been responsibly sourced, and is therefore generally considered better for the environment. It comes from a forest that has been approved and confirmed to meet high environmental and social standards and is cut down in a way that is not damaging to the natural habitat of animals.
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